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Aug 05, 2021 / 16:53

Growing importance of ASEAN-New Zealand relations for region’s prosperity

The ASEAN-New Zealand strategic partnership plays a vital role in the peace, stability, and prosperity of the region.

Vietnam’s Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son made the view at the Post Ministerial Conference (PMC) ASEAN-New Zealand held today [August 5] under the virtual format, which is part of the 54th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM-54).

 Overview of the meeting. Photo: VNA

Son noted both ASEAN and New Zealand share benefits and responsibilities to maintain a secure East Sea with freedom of navigation, while ASEAN stands firm in working with China to finalize the Code of Conduct for the East Sea (COC) that is in line with the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The Vietnamese Foreign Minister requested New Zealand to support ASEAN to enhance its responsive capability against the Covid-19 pandemic, along with access for Covid-19 vaccines.

As measures to boost growth, Son called on both sides to soon upgrade the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) and complete the Regional Air Services Agreement between ASEAN and New Zealand.

“New Zealand could play a part in narrowing the development gap and promote sustainable development in sub-region, including the Mekong,” Son said.

New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta stressed the significance of ASEAN’s central role in addressing regional issues, expressing his commitment to cooperating with the bloc in mitigating Covid-19 impacts.

According to Mahuta, New Zealand would contribute US$690,000 to the ASEAN Covid-19 Response Fund, $20 million to deal with the Covid-19 aftermath, and $12 million for equal vaccine distribution in the region.

At the meeting, both sides expressed commitment to closely cooperating for peace, stability, and security in the region, including the East Sea.

New Zealand stressed its support for ASEAN’s principles and central role in resolving territorial disputes on the East Sea via peaceful means that are based on international law.